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Historical day at Marburg

By Andrew Adermann

It was a momentous day at Marburg Sunday gone for Russell Kajewski, Trent Lethaby and Paul Diebert.

Kajewski drove his first winner since August 2016 in the first event on the card, while Lethaby trained his first winner since receiving his license only a matter of weeks ago.

Diebert – one of the state’s leading drivers – completed the afternoon of milestones by notching up his 500th career win in Queensland in the final event on the card.


Kajewski claims first win in four years

Russell Kajewski hadn’t been first past the post since August 18, 2016 when Long Dirt Road saluted at Redcliffe Paceway by the absolute barest of margins.

Almost four years later, Kajewski was back in the winners’ circle behind the $6 chance Itmightbeyou, who jumped straight to the lead from the inside first row barrier, and controlled the race from start to finish to win by 3.2 metres.

“She can either lead or sit out in the death and we wanted to get out in the lead with her,” Kajewski said.

“I always try to sneak a few quiet quarters with her but I didn’t realise how slow we were going.

“I don’t really worry about winning, it meant more to me because we bred the mare and we own, train and drive her so that’s what really meant the most to me with that win.”

Kajewski is a self-described hobby trainer with only two horses in work, but has been involved in the industry as long as he can remember.

“I had relatives that were all in racing growing up, they had horses when we were kids and I was looking for something different to do,” Kajewski said.

“I worked in thoroughbred stables when I was younger growing up in Hamilton and I had uncles and cousins that were jockeys so harness racing was probably the next cheapest alternative.

“All I’ll ever be is a hobby trainer and I don’t wish to go any bigger, I just do it for the enjoyment.”



Lethaby turns his focus to training

Trent Lethaby is one of the state’s promising young drivers, but has turned his hand to training in recent weeks – and it didn’t take long for him to break the maiden.

His first winner – $3 equal favourite Balator Thor – followed a similar path to Kajewski’s drive, steaming to the front from the inside front draw to lead start to finish under Taleah McMullen’s reins.

“It’s a great feeling to knock over the first winner; I was really nervous before the race – probably more nervous than when driving,” Lethaby said.

It was a 10th win from 144 starts for the seven-year-old, and a first for his new trainer in Lethaby, who made the move over from New Zealand 12 months ago to chase more driving opportunities.

“Training was something that always interested me, and I probably enjoy it a bit more than driving to be honest,” Lethaby said.

“Going forward I’ll probably pursue the training side, but will continue to drive.”



Diebert brings up win 500

Paul Diebert left it late to claim his 500th winner in Queensland, Steering home Ale Ale Kai in the last event on the program.

“I was unaware it was my 500th win, I actually didn’t find out until the next day when Dan Costello posted it on Facebook,” Diebert said.

“I thought I was getting close, but I try not to think where I’m at.

“It made me reminisce about when I first started, and I never thought I would get 500 winners.

“After I finished my claim I went to Western Australia and struggled to find my feet over there, and coming back here I started to get a few wins and get a really good go at it.”

Starting in the second row on the fence, Diebert trailed leader Karloo Mac for the vast majority of the race, peeling off his back coming into the final turn to swoop past and claim a narrow 1.1 metre victory.

“I was worried about getting away at the start and just wanted to hold my spot behind the leader and with no sprint lane at Marburg so was always looking for the opportunity to get out coming around the back of the course,” Diebert said.

“I had momentum in my favour and got out without having to do too much excessive work, and we sprinted up the straight pretty quick.”

Diebert sits a clear fifth in the Queensland Drivers Premiership with 121 wins, six short of Grant Dixon in fourth place.  

However, the 25-year-old isn’t looking towards the next milestone, instead focusing on getting to as many meetings as possible to hone his craft.

“I just want to keep concentrating on my driving and going to as many meetings as I can to drive winners,” Diebert said.

“I’ve never really sat down to map out any long term goals about where I want to head, but I just want to keep going out there and doing what I’ve bene doing over the last 15 months.”